watchOS 8: A redesigned Home app for Apple Watch picks up new smart home features

watchOS 8 brings a significant update to the Home app on your Apple Watch, making it easier to control your HomeKit accessories and scenes, use Intercom and more, right from your wrist.

A photo showing a wrist with an Apple Watch running the Home app on watchOS 8 with the doorbell security camera video displayed on the screen

Say hello to a redesigned Home app for your wrist

Aside from refreshing the look and feel of the Home app on your Apple Watch, the watchOS 8 update has enabled the following new capabilities for the app:

  • Redesigned: Control accessories and scenes with fewer taps.
  • Fast access: Quickly get to your favorite HomeKit accessories and scenes.
  • Room navigation: Control your smart home appliances by room.
  • Doorbell cameras: See who’s at the door directly on your wrist.
  • Intercom: Quickly broadcast an audio message throughout your home.

Continue reading for a deeper dive into watchOS 8’s redesigned Home app.

watchOS 8: Everything new in the Home app

Here’s a closer look at the new features for watchOS 8’s Home app on your Apple Watch.

A refreshed design and navigation

Among the updates to the Apple Home app on watchOS 8 is a refreshed design, bringing the app more in line with its iPhone, iPad and Mac versions in terms of the look and feel.

How to set up and use the Apple Home app on your Mac

Design changes include faster navigation because your accessories and scenes no longer take up the whole screen. Instead, any smart home appliances along with their states are lined up as circular icons at the top of the Apple Watch display, followed by your scenes.

The redesigned Home app on watchOS 8 shown running on Apple Watch, showing convenient access to HomeKit scenes and accessories

Before watchOS 8, you had to scroll through large representing your accessories and scenes, which was cumbersome for those with lots of smart devices in their home.

Faster access to HomeKit gadgets

With watchOS 8’s revamped Home app, you can conveniently access controls for your smart home appliances and HomeKit scenes that may be needed at a particular moment because Siri intelligence surfaces the accessories and scenes you’re most likely to need next.

Accessory control by room

Aside from fast access to smart accessories and scenes, the Home app on watchOS 8 now offers the ability to control accessories by room. Before watchOS 8, you were able to switch between different homes but not access specific accessories in individual rooms.

Security camera feed on your wrist

With the updated Home app, Apple Watch users can see live video feed from a security camera—now you can see who’s at the door and respond to them, all directly on your wrist!

Also, you’ll now get alerted when the doorbell camera has detected package delivery. Before watchOS 8, HomeKit Secure Video would only detect people, animals and vehicles.

The Home app on watchOS 8 shows an Apple Watch user viewing live video from a HomeKit security doorbell camera

Aside from a compatible camera, the HomeKit Secure Video feature requires an Apple TV or HomePod mini for on-device video analysis without sending anything to the cloud.

The Intercom button in the Home app

Apple debuted Intercom on its HomePod speakers with the iOS and iPadOS 14.2 updates that dropped on November 5, 2020. With watchOS 8, Intercom is now available in the redesigned Home app on your wrist. Before watchOS 8, Intercom was limited to Siri on your wrist.

Just tap a new Intercom button in the Home app on your Apple Watch to use the feature.

A photo showing a wrist wearing an Apple Watch running watchOS 8, with the Intercom button shown in the redesigned Home app

Doing so will start recording a short audio message to quickly broadcast throughout all the speakers in your home or to individual rooms via your HomePod or HomePod mini smart speaker or a compatible Intercom device such as your iPhone or iPad.

How to use the Intercom feature on your HomePod

Like before, you can also send these Intercom messages with Siri on your Apple Watch, as well as with your AirPods or compatible Beats headphones connected to the watch.

When is watchOS 8 launching publicly?

Apple began testing the new Apple Watch software on June 7, 2020, by releasing the inaugural beta of watchOS 8.0 to its registered developers. Testing pre-release software will continue throughout the summer, with the first public beat arriving later in June.

watchOS 8 will release publicly for all Apple Watch owners this fall.